Financial Wellness has quickly become one of the hottest and most discussed topics in employer benefits programs in recent months. That is no surprise considering a recent Aon Hewitt survey found that 76% of employers plan to expand their focus on financial well being of their employees in 2016 and beyond. Yet, even with expanded focus on financial wellness, a shared definition does not exist yet.
At York Financial Wellness Group we like to think of Financial Wellness as two separate definitions. What it means for the Employers and what it means for the Employees. For Employers, financial wellness is a program or set of programs to improve their employees' financial behavior and outcomes while also driving business impact. For the Employees, financial wellness is holistic and defined by health, not wealth. it is important to remember that the goal of financial wellness programs is to improve the overall health of the employee.
What Are the elements of financial wellness?
Lets focus on the employee or the individual. There are five components of financial wellness that any program must address for every individual
To be financially well, an individual must have an understanding of their spending, including what they are spending their money on, groceries, clothing, coffee shops and how much they are spending. Most importantly and individual must spend less than they earn so they are able to set aside money to reach their financial goals.
Planning for an emergency is a key component of financial wellness. Personal finance experts across the country recommend 3-5 months of income saved in a separate account for financial emergencies. without sufficient emergency savings it is very difficult to be financially well as any unforeseen event can undo all the positive financial behaviors of an individuals past.
Guidance is the most important component of financial wellness. With so many products and services in the marketplace designed to separate an individual from their money, we all need an independent and trustworthy source of information to guide us toward the right decision.
You as an HR professional provide your employees with great benefits programs. However many may struggle to understand and use all of their benefits effectively. To be financially well individuals must understand their benefits and be able to maximize the benefit they receive from the packages they are offered.
In order to build wealth individuals must find long-term investments and diversify their portfolios. Knowing what to invest in and what to avoid has become a multi-billion dollar industry; however, it can be difficult to know whom to trust. To be successful, an individual must understand how to invest their money.
When an employee is able to understand and conquer all of the elements of financial wellness, they can be considered financially well. Therefore it is key when designing a financial wellness program that all of these elements be addressed. Such a holistic view of employee's finances is necessary for a program to be successful
Employees who participated in financial education
- 75% made better financial decisions
- 75% were more confident in making investment decisions
- 70% changed investments strategy by appropriately deversifying
- 65% believed their financial situation had improved due to financial education
- 45% increased Retirement contributions
In general, workshop participants reported greater satisfaction with their current financial situation and their financial behaviors.
Organize Your Financial Life
The first component to organizing your financial life is choosing your Wellness Team. This team needs to be comprised of Attorneys (Law Firm) who will specialize in Estate Planning and Trust Documentation. Basically, all the appropriate documentation your employee will need as he or she goes through life, i.e. Wills, Powers of Attorney, Advanced Directives, certain types of Trusts and so on. Also if you were fortunate to have a representative from a personal care facility or nursing home, it would be very beneficial. Their expertise will keep your Wellness Team up to speed on the ever-changing landscape of nursing home care in-facility or in-home. As well as all the current Medicare and Medicaid changes. The York Financial Wellness Group has representation from all of the above. With Anstine & Sparler handling the estate planning documentation. United Wealth Protection Concepts LLC providing the specific landscape of Trusts and an advisory staff from Home Instead Senior Care advising on all aspects of senior care. By having your own personal Wellness Team, you are way ahead of the game and have begun to establish the foundation to your Financial Wellness.
Organize Your Key Documents
You should take the time to inventory and record the location of all the important documents that will be needed to settle your estate. These documents may include financial statement and important identification papers, such as birth and marriage certificates, deeds to properties, vehicle registration, military records, Social Security and naturalization cards, and insurance policies. Of course, copies of any existing estate planning documents, such as your will, irrevocable trusts and business agreements should be included.
- History shows most of us do not discuss the locations of key documents with family (even spouses)
- Do not discuss- information may be lost forever.
- Do discuss- It will be easier to settle an estate.
- Learn the potential impact of others' financial choices on you and your goals. You wont regret it.
- Life events generate or create a need to find documents
- Loan applications; credit report problems
- Family members illness; death of a loved one
- Life events (moving, marriage, birth, or divorce)
- Financial planning
- Losing or leaving a job; retiring
- See Documentation Locator